‘Cheese Challenge’: why are People Throwing Cheese at Babies?


Getty Say cheese.

The #CheesedChallenge has swept Twitter since Thursday when user @unclehxlmes inadvertently started the trend. While @unclehxlmes deleted the Tweet after media outlets reached out to him, the #CheesedChallenge nonetheless stuck and 72 hours later #CheesedChallenge Twitter users are posting videos of infants and children being struck by cheese with an apparent interest in gauging the reaction of the child. One kid ate the cheese for the win.

The videos appear harmless enough with the Gruyère and Manchego resting non-violently in the refrigerator as their soft slice American cheese counterparts find baby’s face. No instances of cream cheese use have been reported.

Still, some users took to Twitter to express their disapproval of the challenge.

Wisconsoners have been encouraged to opine as to what kind of cheese to use.

In one variation of #CheesedChallenge, a dog caught the cheese.

One Twitter cat did not fare as well.

Several cats took the #CheesedChallenge.

Older children participated, too, with the exception they saw the cheese coming.

Perhaps most appropriately of all, a rat was tossed some cheese by one Twitter user.


Cheesy but True

It is unclear whether the #CheesedChallenge name has any origins in the expression, “Say cheese!”, but vaguely more clear is the motivation for the behavior. “Most interesting is how the Twitter system acts to fill a deep psychological need in our society. The unfortunate reality is that we are a culture starved for real community. For hundreds of thousands of years, human beings have resided in tribes of about 30-70 people. Our brains are wired to operate within the social context of community—programming both crucial and ancient for human survival,” writes Moses Ma for Psychology Today. Ma is the author of The Tao of Innovation.

Ma explains the “deep evolutionary need for community continues to express itself” through mediums like Twitter in our post-Industrial Revolution world. #CheesedChallenge has gone global.

Taking Home the Cheese

Twitter is not home to the first cheesy challenge. A British tradition dating back to Roman times, competitions such as the Gloucestershire Rolling and Wake draw competitors from far afield to race the cheese 200 yards down a nearly vertical slope in pursuit of a seven-pound Double Gloucester cheese. Injuries are commonplace. Chris Anderson, pictured here in the 2005 Gloucestershire Rolling and Wake, tore a calf muscle last year in the Cooper’s Hill Roll and Wake to earn a 22nd career victory.

Chris Anderson at Gloucestershire 'Cheese Rolling and Wake'

GettyChris Anderson during the Gloucestershire ‘Cheese Rolling and Wake’ on May 30, 2005 in Gloucerstershire, England.

Twitter challenges range from the harmless to more controversial Bird Box Challenge. Other Twiter users, such as Greta Van Susteren, author of Everything You Need to Know about Social Media: Without Having to Call A Kid, have used the social media platform to challenge trolls to give to charity.

As of March 8, 2019, over one week after the first #CheesedChallenge Tweet, the challenge was still trending on Twitter.

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